Friday, 12 March 2010

London Mayor says 'yes' to Brent Cross scheme UPDATED ON 16 MARCH

London Mayor Boris Johnson has given his approval to Barnet council's big Brent Cross redevelopment scheme. There is a report on Property Week's website - who, not unsuprisingly, only see the upside. The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Development will comment soon, I expect.

Update made on 16 March:
John Denham, the Secretary of State, has told Barnet council they cannot go ahead with the plan until they get explicit permission. This looks like the precursor to the government calling the plan in for a public inquiry. Quite right too!

Below is the statement by the Brent Cross Coalition.

Coalition Pleased that Government Stalls Plans that Boris Rubberstamped

The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Plan are celebrating their biggest victory since they formed in September 2009. Yesterday the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government issued a ‘stop notice’ under Article 14 of the Town and Country Planning Order 1995, saying “the SoS hereby directs Barnet Council not to grant planning permission on this application without specific authorisation”.

Boris Johnson had passed the plans on Friday, and the stop notice means that John Denham now has more time to decide whether to call in the development for a public inquiry. The Coalition believes the development fulfills every criterion for a call in.

Coalition Co-ordinator Lia Colacicco was excited, “Hopefully the Secretary of State’s next move is to call a public inquiry immediately so that these disastrous plans can undergo full public scrutiny.”

“We were hoping that John Denham would stop this dinosaur of a development. He has much broader powers than the Mayor: it could be called in on several criteria, but in particular because its effects go far beyond the immediate area, local people don’t want it in this form, and because it is completely unsustainable in terms of traffic, housing, and the environment.”

“We are not surprised that John Denham has issued a ‘stop notice’. How would it look if this out-of-town development is allowed to go through with its incinerator and sub-standard housing, when by 2016 all other new housing will have to be carbon zero? We want an exciting and innovative place, built around people and public transport – including a local railway like the docklands light railway. We need to use the latest green technology.”

Darren Johnson, London Assembly member said, “There are better ways to spend £4.8bn if we want to revitalise this area. Londoners want less traffic, good local shops and more affordable homes, but the Mayor has rubberstamped a development that will bring the exact opposite to the area: another 29,000 cars, a threat to other neighbourhood shopping areas and one of the lowest affordable homes targets in London.”

David Howard, Federation of Residents Associations in Barnet added, ”The timing is interesting. The scheme may now struggle. Its greatest advocate in Barnet, Mike ‘easy council’ Freer is hoping to move away from the Council into Parliament. Westfield shopping centre is under-performing. Brent Cross developer Hammerson is getting cold feet about doubling the size of the shopping area, and moving its attention to France. The housing market has collapsed and the Brent Cross model is out of date. No wonder the developers have only committed to phase 1. We await with interest what will happen next.”

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